It’s Bob Klapisch who, after spending a bit of time yesterday afternoon on Twitter playing armchair orthopedic surgeon, decided that the Mets are to blame for not seeing the alleged warning signs leading to Matt Harvey’s diagnosis:
There are a million questions trailing in his wake, starting with the Mets’ passive response to the lingering forearm tightness Harvey had been experiencing since July. Warrior that he is, Harvey downplayed the discomfort, telling his bosses it was nothing unusual, nothing more than the cost of doing business with nuclear heat. But given the Mets’ abysmal record of managing injuries, why weren’t they proactive when it was clear Harvey wasn’t improving? … the Mets should’ve taken control of the situation and not waited until late Sunday when Harvey’s pain finally became acute.
All pitchers get some soreness. Harvey is a young kid who didn’t think it was a big deal and there was nothing objective the Mets could see that would suggest injury. Blaming the Mets by going back, as Klapisch does, to some of their medical misdiagnosis a few years ago smacks of scapegoating and a failure to appreciate that there simply are injuries that happen despite everyone doing the right thing. And no, putting a baseball player in an MRI tube every time he’s sore is not the right thing.
Of course my favorite part of this column is when Klapisch mentions Harvey posing nude in ESPN the Magazine a couple of months ago:
Already he’s big and brash and gutsy enough to pose in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue. It wasn’t the smartest decision he’ll ever make, but it told you plenty about the kid’s self-confidence.
You’ll recall that Klapisch wrote a hand-wringing, unintentionally hilarious “Harvey shouldn’t want to be known as the naked pitcher” column at the time. Here he seems to lump in the posing nude with Harvey’s toughness and self confidence. A toughness and self confidence he now blames for Harvey not speaking up about his sore arm.
Which just goes to show: when a columnist decides on a meme, be it “the Mets’ doctors suck” or “posing nude is a horrible thing to do,” they will take every opportunity to shoehorn developments into those memes as a means of saying “see, I told you so.” And about 97.5% of the time it is utter baloney.
Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.
Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.
Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.
It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.
After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.
The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.
Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.
The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.
Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.
Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.
After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.
According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.
The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.